Thanet council rejects debate on Airbnb planning restriction proposals

Cllr Rob Yates put forward the Airbnb proposal but the motion fell

A proposal to introduce planning restrictions on short term lets and  a 90 day per year letting limit for entire homes in Thanet on Airbnb did not reach the debate stage at Thanet council tonight (October 14).

The motion was put forward by Margate ward councillor Rob Yates who says he is concerned about the impact of Airbnbs on Thanet’s rental market.

In the motion, Cllr Yates said: “We welcome the majority of visitors to Thanet, who make an important contribution to our economy, but we hear residents’ concerns and wish to take action to control this serious issue which is damaging our community and damaging the reputation of Airbnb.”

He proposed an agreement for the council to try and introduce planning restrictions that affect short-term rentals, such as change of use regulations and asked for council leader Ash Ashbee to write to Marie Lorimer, the UK Public Policy Manager at Airbnb to request a meeting and seek to proactively introduce a 90 day annual limit for entire home rentals in Thanet within the Airbnb platform.

However, a vote to debate the proposals did not win enough support from councillors, meaning the motion was lost.

Cabinet member for Housing Cllr Jill Bayford said: ““The issues surrounding rented holiday accommodation in the district are complex and need to be looked at in detail. Tourism plays a vital role in the economy of Thanet and we need to be sure that any decisions that may impact on it are interrogated thoroughly.

“As we are not in possession of all of the necessary information to review the broader landscape, this evening we took the decision against debating the motion. This will allow us the opportunity to conduct an informed discussion, based on accurate data and involving the appropriate experts.

“We appreciate that housing is a very important issue to our local communities. We care deeply about providing genuinely affordable homes to rent or buy and our Housing Strategy (2020-2025) sets out a plan to ensure that everyone has access to a safe, secure, well-maintained and affordable home.

“Unusually for a council of our size, we are taking a lead in developing new and affordable homes and in the past 9 years we have provided 162 new affordable rented homes, and have funding in place for a further 28 homes. This represents a total investment of £43m in our development and acquisitions programmes. We are committed to continuing this work into the future, providing more affordable rented homes for local people.”

In response to questions from Independent councillor Ruth Bailey about the number of Airbnbs in Thanet and the possibility of introducing regulations, Cllr Bayford said  Airbnb has 1,316 properties listed in Thanet but the whole house rental figure was not specified. She added that regulations were being looked at on a national level.

Prior to the meeting members of the Acorn Margate group held a demonstration outside the council offices in support of Cllr Yates’ proposal. The group said regulations would redress “the imbalance between short-term holiday lets and homes for the working people of Thanet.”

Thanet Airbnb: Would proposed restrictions help the long-term let market or would it damage tourism, businesses and jobs?

27 Comments

  1. Thatchers legacy of stealing the council houses from the public and selling them off at half their true value thereby depriving councils of billions of pounds of rental income is the cause of homelessness and the lack of suitable long term accommodation today. She “ sold the family silver to buy votes” it’s nothing to do with air b&bs.

    • I don’t see how only letting people rent somewhere to holiday-makers for 3 months a year is going to help people who want to rent somewhere for 12 months a year.

      • It is all about changing the calculation of the financial return on an Airbnb property versus an Airbnb property.

        If landlords are only permitted to rent out a property as an Airbnb for 90 nights a year they may well see a higher income from letting the property fulltime for 12 months.

        It is reasonable to suggest that this may also discourage some existing rental landlords from converting to Airbnb.

  2. Such a stupid idea, I did a quick seach and it seems as though there are 66000 properties in Thanet and 28000 rentals, over 1000 empty properties, so how is it the fault of 300 holiday rentals????

  3. Headline should be “People that own Air BnBs vote not to talk about anything that might result in lowering their income”

    Self serving and ignorance is rife at TDC so does this really surprise anyone that they didn’t even want to discuss this issue?

    Boris has taught these Charlatans well.

    One to another, they aren’t thinking things over.

    • Do they do any thinking?!?

      Sounds a great idea. The Tory government doing some thinking and using their brains. I don’t think it’ll catch on they’ll continue to use a PR company and Yougov surveys to make their decisions.

  4. More ill-conceived, private investor bullying and stupidity from a half-cocked councillor with no understanding about Margates priority needs. Can we have a councillor please that is elected on their own merits rather than by grabbing at the popularity and well deserved respect earned by the retiring Iris Johnston? ie; a councillor with experience and common sense, not elected just by their political label. Let’s hope next time voters will all think, before voting. Margate needs appropriate, responsible governance, not blinkered political cripples towards the steps of much needed investment and improvement in Margate. Meaning, income! and incoming! Politically warped, mentally challenged politicians need not apply.

      • Because, pre-covid and staycation, it wasn’t an issue? And now that people are scrambling to book holidays at UK seaside resorts, unscrupulous landlords are scrambling to evice their tenants and turn houses into B&Bs

  5. What does need changing is the fact that a lot of these holiday rental properties (not just AirBnB) do not have to pay any business rates / council tax because they are under the threshold. This is completely wrong when they are making a profit and means that all other council tax payers are subsidising them. But this is government legislation, not TDC.

  6. Those 1000 empty homes are not accessable. There’s a terrible shortage of homes in Thanet and too many rental homes are poor quality causing a great deal of misery and housing worries.

  7. Good.
    Why would an area that is dependent on tourism want to shoot itself in the foot.
    Once again this is local morons who hate anyone from the outside area, trying to everything to isolate us.

  8. I agree. It is hardly the fault of Air BNB owners that there is no social housing, nor is it immoral to own a rental property.

    The anti outsider sentiment in Thanet is absurd. And embarrassing. And insulting.

    TDC prefers to get rid of tourist related investments. Just look at the toilets.

  9. You cant blame Airbnb lettings though that’s very unfair. They are doing this for income & their livelihood bearing in mind some are only letting their spare rooms. Put the blame squarely on the Conservatives who have failed to provide affordable social housing since the sell of agenda by Maggie Thatcher. Blame it on the local conservative MP who continue to be voted and dont make any significant difference in Thanet on social, economic & housing issues. All new houses are just not affordable & not enough. Private rentals by landlords is also problematic and expensive for most people anyway, it’s done for profit. Rob Yates need to give pressure on the Conservatives to change current housing policy o low income citizens. That’s constructive & a permanent solution. Thanet tourists need a choice of accommodation and let’s not forget the impact of more tourists on this isle & jobs for local people when people visit.

  10. Perhaps more research into the expected results from the proposal would have helped pass it,rather than just a headline to put on a future election leaflet. Modelling the expected outcome in terms of numbers of holiday lets returning to long term rental, impact on the planning process and department to process change of use applications and so on would have provided a better case.

    Intervening in market forces may achieve some desirable effects but can have unforseen consequences. As pointed out on other threads, removing buy to let mortgage relief and the 3% additional home stamp duty increases landlord costs and reduces the supply of rental properties, couple that with increased holiday let demand from Covid travel restrictions, a move away from air travel for environmental reasons aka the staycation, advertising and funding to make Thanet a more popular destination, the increase in housing demand from people moving from other areas to Thanet and availability of a simple low cost letting platform are all factors contributing to this situation.

    Imposing an arbitrary limit on air BnB rentals in isolation isn’t thought out enough and deserved to be voted down. We need better proposals looking at the whole picture, some factors may be outside the will and ability of the local council to control, however attempting to tweak one or two factors in isolation is simply grasping at straws.

  11. I think this issue is really complex. This “them vs us” approach by Rob Yates is not helpful, it needs to be much more informed and much more nuanced. Maybe he can go away and try again. He’s not stupid. Stop trying to win votes, start trying to make it work.

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